Who would you put on Thrasherville’s Mt. Flushmore

Throughout the month of August Sean Leahy of Yahoo Sports’ Puck Daddy has invited bloggers, fans and writers of each NHL team to select four people that best define the face of their franchise and helped shaped its history. Those players, coaches and/or team executives would then have their images sculpted into and enshrined upon that team’s “Mt. Puckmore”.

Earlier in the week, Aaron Brown and Laura Astorian of Bird Watchers Anonymous guided us on a tour of Thrasherville’s Mt. Puckmore State Park. There they unveiled the images that they carved upon our mountain monument. Three players…Ilya Kovalchuk, Dan Snyder and Dany Heatley…were included as well as former GM and now team president Don Waddell.

The Kovy and Snyder selections are two that I would also have made. However, I would have chosen two others instead of Heatley and Waddell…Slava Kozlov and radio voice of the Thrashers Dan Kamal.

Kozlov played in 537 games as a Thrasher scoring 145 goals and 271 assists. He’s nothing short of a class act and a professional through & through. So he’d be my third selection. The Grand Kamalian has delivered Thrashers action over the airwaves since day one and his love, passion and dedication to this team and his profession has come through as crystal clear as his play-by-play calls.

Other consideration would have to be given to Ray “Big Ball of Hate” Ferraro and “The Sheriff”, Jeff Odgers.

Regardless of whom you might have picked to place upon this Thrasherville summit of historic figures, it certainly makes for quality discussion and debate. So, hats off to Mr. Brown and Ms. Astorian for performing the role of tour guides at Thrasherville’s Mt. Puckmore State Park so well.

But now, let me lead you around to the backside of the park…past the finely manicured lawns and well-stocked gift shops…beyond the maintenance sheds and garbage dumpsters that are tucked neatly away from the view of tourists. There, in a remote corner of the park, we find another mountain… albeit one not quite as tall, majestic and picturesque as Mt. Puckmore. It is much less of a “mountain majesty” as it is a “bump on the backside” of Thrasherville State Park.

That’s right kids… this weekend we take a class trip to Mt. Flushmore.

So everyone put on your hiking boots, grab hold of the line rope, watch your step and be mindful of the other park patrons. Oh, and if you’ve brought a packed lunch, don’t put it down for a second. There are a couple crafty bears that will snatch it up in a flash.

Now the first thing you’ll all notice is, in stark contrast to the majestic mountain in front of the park, this slope is only meant for those who we remember in… shall we say… a less-fond manner. Whereas Mt. Puckmore is reserved for those we feel best represent the faces of the franchise, this particular peak is set aside for those who we might wish had never shown their face here at all. It is indeed a special place in Thrasherville infamy.

And so, as we arrive at the base of the mountain, allow me to display the four images that I have chosen to blast out of the stone facing of Mt. Flushmore.

Alex Bourret: The first round draft pick by Don Waddell in the now infamous “Trade-Down Draft of ‘05”, Bourret represents what I believe is the worst ever first round pick the Thrashers have made…yes, that includes Patrik Stefan. Waddell traded away the 8th overall, then 12th overall pick to take him at 16th, passing over such players as Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal. That Bourret never played a single game at the NHL level just adds to the frustration when recalling that 2005 draft.

He was ultimately dealt to the New York Rangers in exchange for Pascal Dupuis who, in turn, made his way to Pittsburgh with Marian Hossa in 2008. Dupuis has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup with the rest of the 2008-09 Penguins.

Bourret played three seasons in the AHL where he scored 25 goals and 60 assists in 156 games. Last year he played in the Czech Republic for HC Kometa Brno where he netted but one assist in 16 games and in June he signed a one-year contract with High1 of Asia League Ice Hockey.

Upon hearing news of the Bourret signing, High1 fans in Chuncheon, South Korea logged on to the team’s fan blog site to exclaim…“The cup is ours”.

Alexei Zhitnik: If Bourret represents draft pick lows, then Zhitnik’s face surely is the one that can best represent ill-advised trade acquisitions. When the Thrashers found themselves in danger of sliding out of the playoff picture in February 2007, Don Waddell hit the panic button. Sent to Philadelphia was promising defensive prospect Braydon Coburn in exchange for veteran defenseman Alexei Zhitnik.

While Zhitty did play well for Atlanta down the stretch, the next year he personified everything that was wrong with that season’s defensive play. In the summer of ’08, shortly after opining how Zhitnik would play a big part in Atlanta’s future, Waddell bought out his contract. Zhitnik then spent two seasons being paid $1.16 million a year to not play for the Thrashers.

Coburn, on the other hand, has been getting paid to play for Philadelphia, both in regular season games and the playoffs. During a 2008 playoff game between the Flyers and Capitals, I recall hearing the TV play-by-play saying something like, “…and Coburn wins the puck in the corner. Ya know, I still can’t believe Philly got him from Atlanta for, who was it, Alexei Zhitnik?” 

There were audible snickers, a chuckle…then they continued with the game.

Todd White: I would place the likeness of Todd White on the face of Mt. Flushmore to represent offseason UFA signings gone bad. White came to Atlanta in the summer of 2007 and Don Waddell sold him to Thrasherville as the new top-line center…the man to center Ilya Kovalchuk’s line. Now, in fairness to Todd, he’s not the one that placed that albatross of a label around his neck. He’s a second or third liner at best…not that there’s anything wrong with that. But White’s soft play on both ends of the ice soon earned him the nickname “Charmin” and he also found his image on my milk carton due to his propensity to disappear for games at a time.

A few weeks ago, White was dealt to the New York Rangers…the same team that took Bourret off of our hands. The Thrashers got in return a player that has suited up for 2 NHL games in the past two seasons and another that they immediately put on waivers.

Well done, Mr. Dudley.

Don Waddell: OK, so what name has constantly popped-up when discussing the first three faces for Mt. Flushmore? Uh-huh, Don Waddell… the man who held the title of Thrashers general manager from day one to just last April. Waddell has been the one consistent with this team and, for better or worse, is the main reason they are where they are now. Nice guy…yes he is. Sincerely wants this team to succeed…yes he does. Better at running the business of the organization than on-ice talent evaluator…very possibly so.

Now, there are many who would say Mr. Waddell does truly belong here…that really the Great Octocluster that make up the AS, LLC are far more deserving of this honor. That may be so, but try getting all eight of those guys up there. It’d be a logistics nightmare.

Don not only has held the title of GM, executive VP and now team president, but he has also been the head coach of the Thrashers. Twice he has had to take over behind the bench after having to fire two coaches that he himself hired. His overall record there is 38-39-1-8. So not only has he GM-ed the team to a losing record, he has also coached them to one as well.

Hopefully, his tenure as team president will be more successful than his previous position. I feel his first decision in that role…announcing the promotion of Rick Dudley to GM…was a very good one. And if the team plays as well as many think they can given the roster moves he’s orchestrated so far, maybe we can get the sandblaster out and change some of the faces on the mountain.

The mountain in front of the park, I mean… Mt. Puckmore. Lord help us if others perform so poorly that they become worthy of replacing any one of these guys.

shudders

And now if you’ll follow me, let me guide you to the gift shop. Sorry…there are no vuvuzelas for sale, but I hear Kovalchuk #17 Thrashers jerseys are 95% off and anyone purchasing a Todd White #12 jersey will get a free carton of milk…

143 comments Add your comment

Flagstaff

August 20th, 2010
3:50 pm

Pretty much, mine was the same as yours.

Wait, as much of a flop as Todd White was, he did have a good ‘09 season. Therefore, Stefan replaces his face on my mountain.

Alan R.

August 20th, 2010
3:52 pm

Four faces of hell:

Stefan, Nikulin, Waddell, Bourret.

Paminski

August 20th, 2010
3:56 pm

Soft play yes, but I’m not convinced Todd White was that bad as to be immortalized in this fashion.

World Be Free

August 20th, 2010
4:01 pm

Flushmore-you need a big mountain for all the faces that qualify.
Curt Fraser needs to be up there too.

Riceowls

August 20th, 2010
4:01 pm

Mike Dunham. All he has to do is play one good game in net,and the Thrashers make the playoffs. And the Thrashers scored, what, 5-6 goals that game?

fes

August 20th, 2010
4:01 pm

bourret, dwad, zhitnik, nikulin

Sara

August 20th, 2010
4:03 pm

How can you not have the Octo-cluster somewhere on that? I’m sure there’s room in the toilet bowl.

Brendan

August 20th, 2010
4:08 pm

Amanda Jahn, Erin Andrews, Katy Temple, and Natalie Taylor.

Brendan

August 20th, 2010
4:10 pm

Oh, you wanted Thrasher players. Well then … how about Damian Rhodes, Bobby Holik, Kari Lehtonen, and Dany Heatley. When I think of players who most let this franchise down, or crippled it, these are the four faces I see.

Midfield

August 20th, 2010
4:19 pm

ASG suits. How many of them are out there, by the way?

Brendan

August 20th, 2010
4:23 pm

Okay, it does all start from the top. So, I put Ted Turner, Bruce Levenson, Rutherford Seydell, and Waddell up on Mt. Flushmore. No Gearon, Jr. or Sr.? For some reason, I tend to do easier on those two. I blame Ted for not taking proper stewardship of this team. He was just a “blip” on the radar, when it appeared that he’d be the face of the franchise’s ownership for the coming years. Ooops. Why Rutherford Seydell? Well, during banner-raising ceremonies vs. the Washington Capitals in October 2007, he’s the one who grabbed the live microphone to exclaim, “We’re gonna do everything we can to bring the Stanley Cup to Atlanta!” I agree with the sentiment, but the facts don’t support that. So, Seydell’s face goes up there. Why Bruce Levenson? In Ronald Reagan-like delivery, “Let me tell you why it is that I distrust you.” When your Octocluster group gained control … you were presented as “the hockey guy,” since you had previous experience with the Washington Capitals. Initially, I thought, “And how many Cups do the Washington Capitals have in their history?” But then I thought, “that’s really misplaced. You can’t blame no cups in DC on Levenson. That’s crazy-talk.” But what, pray tell, has been the God-sent wisdom of hockey guidance from Bruce Levenson?? **Crickets chirping** Okay, that leaves Don Waddell. Well look, Don Waddell … very well may be a very nice man. A dedicated father. A loving husband. And a father figure to some of his draft picks. But he’s not very lucky, in terms of getting results that lead to playoff appearances. And if he’s reading this, (which he’s not,) even he’d be nodding at that statement. Don Waddell, despite popular sentiment, is not the WORST GM in history. He’s not even close to it. But neither is he a good one. His heart was always in the right place. But we live in a world that demands results and accountability. Somehow, he’s managed to live in this same world with us … without those things applying to him. That makes him very, very fortunate. And very, very well connected, and LIKED by people in the hockey world. Good for him. But his face is still going on Mt. Flushmore. It was Don Waddell’s responsibility to mold and shape this team. He was given a decade’s worth of seasons to get us into the 2nd round. He didn’t so much as get a playoff win. How does one properly ’sugarcoat’ that?

glovesave29

August 20th, 2010
4:26 pm

I’d have 4 Waddel’s – one for each of the positions he has held within this organization. When he put himself behind the bench after firing Hartley, he took what was backdoor mumurs to a screaming headline – that the Thrashers were not in it to win it, and that we were (to borrow the line from Gretzky’s comments about the NJ Devils) a Mickey Mouse operation.

Tom

August 20th, 2010
4:30 pm

You know, after reading your post Rawhide, there really is no need to pick 4 for Mt. Flushmore.

The 3 players on the list really are innocent. Two of the players had no plans on playing with The Thrashers organization. They were collateral damage. Todd White, well, how can you be on a monument to someone gracing milk cartons across the land.

No. This monument should be SOLELY dedicated to 1 man. Don Waddell.

Don Waddell leadership has been to make mediocrity a goal, not a destination. He has had talent in his lap that has walked away, some players chewing their arms off to get out the door before sunrise.

No the monument Mt. Flushmore should be a statue in honor of Don Waddell. Covered in pigeon droppings.

Thrashy Thrashy

August 20th, 2010
4:31 pm

http://www.iserlohn-roosters.de/spieler/105

I think Norm Maracle deserves recognition, too.

Brendan

August 20th, 2010
4:35 pm

You know Sage will be here any minute to point out that DW was a former port-a-potty salesman, so Flushmore is right up his alley and apt.

glovesave29

August 20th, 2010
4:40 pm

Looks like ol Norm has graduated from the KFC Double Down at 43 grams of fat to the Hardee’s only diet – two meals a day of the 2/3lb bacon cheesburger…only 96 grams of fat each.

Darren

August 20th, 2010
4:52 pm

Oh my stars and garters… what a litany of names from which to choose here..

How about anybody from David Harlock and Todd Reirden to Ivan Majesky to Daniel Tjarnqvist..

Hell, let’s just say 1 of my faces are “anybody who played defenseman not named Brian Pothier, Kurtis Foster, or Mike Weaver until we drafted Tobias Enstrom”. Because truly, the number of quality defensemen in this organization until he came along was extremely few and far between. At this point, though, I think it’s fair to say that Atlanta is now rostering (and drafting and developing) NHL-caliber defenseman. If you can honestly see Atlanta defensemen playing for, say, the Red Wings, then Atlanta’s finally made it.

Fairly or unfairly (after all, HE didn’t appoint himself GM), Don Waddell is most certainly on the list, although bringing in Rick Dudley to replace him was the right one. Right away, however, he is at fault for passing up on a few names that were reportedly available in the expansion draft that might have given Atlanta a better chance for a quicker catching up. And since then, well…

Patrik Stefan deserves to be on there because he did seem to be the real deal when he schooled Hasek early in his career for 2 goals. After that, the best it could be said is that he could be a decent defensive center, which is not what you wait 300 NHL games and a number 1 overall pick (albeit in a pathetically weak draft) to see come to fruition.

Finally, I will go with whomever was in charge of goaltender conditioning/training. Constantly, any meager momentum this franchise managed to develop throughout the years were absolutely killed when (insert goaltender name here) went down with a (say it with me) GROIN INJURY. It’s unacceptable when the most important position on your team constantly goes down to injury. So no, it wasn’t Rick Tabaracci’s or Adam Berkhoel’s fault this team was consistently so bad; it was the trainer’s.

Joe Friday

August 20th, 2010
5:28 pm

Don Waddell, Dany Heatley (after Waddell, he did more damage than anyone to this franchise), Petr Buzek (remember what that jackhole did?), and last but not least, The Atlanta Spirit Group (just put up the bust of a Lernaean Hydra with their mugs on it all wild eyed at snapping at each other)

DWTOO

August 20th, 2010
5:43 pm

1) Heatley
2) DeFoe
3) Holik
4) Rhodes

Virginia Flowers

August 20th, 2010
5:44 pm

Good list! I’d swap Todd White for Patrik Stefan though.

ben

August 20th, 2010
6:27 pm

Heatley

his departure crippled this team

Kari

He inflicted his “potential” on this team for years. I will always believe this “potential” somehow played a small role in Pasi’s accident. I can not wait until his name is taken from the record books of this team.

Don Waddell

The man is wholly beyond his depth. He might be the worst GM in the history of North American pro sports. It will be years before this team gets out of his shadow.

John Anderson

A truly bad coach.

Jack

August 20th, 2010
6:50 pm

What about Snyder. That unfortunate incident turned the franchise upside down. RIP Synder

MB

August 20th, 2010
7:21 pm

We when came out about the Mt. Puckmore, I thought a Mt. Flushmore was far more fitting for this team. Not that I don’t love the T-Birds, just that we’ve had far more monumental flops than players of heroic stature.

Waddell is a definite…whereas Washington and Jefferson were Founding Fathers, Waddell is the Floundering Father of this organization. So he’s a lock.

Stefan is tempting, but at least he contributed in some ways. A bust, no doubt, but I think we’ve had worse.

Dafoe, Maracle, Rhodes…take your pick. I’d have to go back to see which one contributed the least while stealing, er, “earning” the most, and frankly I don’t need that depression in my life. Maybe they can rotate the honor monthly.

Holik definitely stole big $$ from us, but I blame the Wad for that more than FrankenBobby. I mean, if somebody insisted paying you wads of cash for something you weren’t quite sure you could do, would you turn it down?

Steve Rucchin – I’m still haunted by that name…it brings images of money being flushed down the toilet, then the toilet clogging because of the amount of money being flushed.

Alexei Zhitnik – After the toilet was unclogged from the Rucchin incident, along came Alexei, and the Philips Arena plumbing/maintenance staff wept. They’re still clearing the pipes from that stinker.

Rawhide

August 20th, 2010
7:49 pm

Jack – As did Aaron and Laura, I would have Snyder on the face of Mt. Puckmore.

Sara – Like I said, trying to get the entire eight-member octocluster onto Mt. Flushmore would be a logistics nightmare. But they certainly have earned a spot there.

Dwayne

August 20th, 2010
8:25 pm

Waddel as an infant, Waddel as a toddler, Waddel as a child and Waddel as a teenager. The reason no bust of Waddel as an adult is because most adults figure out if they aint worth a sh!t at a job, they get a new one…..oooops, wait, he did get a new job, President. Maybe the Octotards should be on Mt. Flushmore.

Wayne stuck in AL

August 20th, 2010
9:07 pm

Definitely Damien Rhodes, Patrik Stefan, and Waddell.

Cornbread

August 20th, 2010
9:40 pm

Replace White with Heatley.

R. Stroz

August 20th, 2010
9:45 pm

Jay Grossman should receive dishonorable mention for his handling of the Kovalchuk situation.

R. Stroz

August 20th, 2010
9:46 pm

Looks like the Thrashers need more than one Mount Flushmore.

Sage of Bluesland

August 20th, 2010
9:54 pm

I agree on Rhodes being added to the list…what a great “foundation” to build upon!

I also agree on the glass-groined wunderkind (Lehtonen) being added–as he was nothing but a play for much-needed time….So much was bet on the teen eurogoalie at such risk–and so little return…

Of course, that lisping, bumbling fraud of a GM we have (Waddell) is a given for the mountain of incompetence he has built over the past decade.

I’m also thinking the number “5″ should be on the mountain–as we’re on our third “Five-year plan!” now…

(either that or maybe a sheep’s head, for all the wittle dweamers, fwag-wavers, and spreadsheet-makers out there…yep, that would do nicely…)

World Be Free

August 20th, 2010
10:41 pm

Sage, you should be on Flushmore cause you posts are like one continual flush, when the float won’t operate on the toilet and you have to go to Home Depot for new inner toilet works-sorry dude.

Anyhow, Asham is off the market-how about Scott Walker? Walker plays like Dudley used to play the game. He would be a great addition.

JK Sockey

August 20th, 2010
10:51 pm

Scott Farrall
Damian Rhodes
Dany Heatley
Andy Sutton

Mikey

August 20th, 2010
11:24 pm

“Upon hearing news of the Bourret signing, High1 fans in Chuncheon, South Korea logged on to the team’s fan blog site to exclaim…“The cup is ours”

BWAAA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

You are smarter than the av-er-age blogger, Rawhide.

My four faces on Mt. Flushmore would be:

Don – 5 Year Plan – Waddell
Bruce – Smart Ass – Levenson
Patrick – Open Net – Stefan
Todd – Milk Carton – White

Joe Friday

August 20th, 2010
11:49 pm

“Scott Farrall”

Ferrall.

Is that because he’s more coherent than you?

“trying to get the entire eight-member octocluster onto Mt. Flushmore would be a logistics nightmare.”

What, they didn’t learn ya no Greek mythology down south? A Lernaean Hydra would be the fitting piece right next to Donnie Wads, mug . . .hey Sara, you ready to admit you were dead wrong re. Kovy and Waddell yet?

Sage of Bluesland

August 21st, 2010
12:31 am

….LOL at Joe Friday…Let’s see, now where did I place that spreadsheet which PROVES that Waddell is actually an above-average GM….It’s around here somewhere…

What a joke. Would be funny if it weren’t so sad…

MB

August 21st, 2010
7:41 am

Oh, and let’s not forget Uwe Krupp.

We’re gonna need a bigger hill.

Putting On The Foil

August 21st, 2010
7:52 am

Rhodes, Stefan, Heatley, and Waddell.

Sara

August 21st, 2010
7:54 am

MB – I’d say Holik might actually be deserving of that spot given his role in driving a wedge straight through that lockerroom his last season here (I suppose in all fairness I should add an “allegedly” to that).

JF – wrong in respect to what exactly (I presume there’s something specific to which you are refering)?

Sage – when you can contribute something to this blog other than your own bumbling lisps of epithets and general negativity, then you can try to come at me. Until then, I will continue to consider you irrelevant and you can continue to enjoy mama’s basement.

Fan from Carolina

August 21st, 2010
8:11 am

Can we count the old Flames? Jim Craig comes to mind. Yes, the ‘Miracle on Ice’ goalie. Hype hype hype and he won 1 game for the Flames before being shipped off to the Bruins.

Sage's Mama

August 21st, 2010
8:50 am

He aint living in my basement, I kicked him out after his 2nd 5 year plan failed.

Get The Puck Out

August 21st, 2010
9:38 am

To heck with MT. Flushmore…. I think the octocluster and Donnie should be flushed. Just make sure you got a really good plunger….don’t want it to get stopped up with that mess in it.

Rawhide

August 21st, 2010
11:19 am

Per CapGeek, Zubarev has been signed to a 2-year entry level contract by the Thrashers…$687,500 per year.

kracker

August 21st, 2010
11:27 am

One or two-way contract on Zub, Rawhide?

R. Stroz

August 21st, 2010
11:46 am

Another dishonorable mention should go to Harvey Schiller for telling Brian Burke he’d get back with him on the GM position.

kracker

August 21st, 2010
11:53 am

1. Heatley (who gets double mention)
2. Holik
3. (tie) Rhodes/Maracle/DaFoe/and the 05 Flopping Five represented by Shields
4. and representing all the I-just-need-a-hockey-job-cause-nobody-else-will-pay-me-bums: Steve Ruuchin

There are so many more. Most of them are here because of a bad driver, a weak ownership group and an even weaker and wishy-washy GM. So behind the face of whoever you chose for Mt. Flushmore hover the ghostly images of Heatley, Waddell and owner Belkin (just to pick one, perhaps he is the worst)

kracker

August 21st, 2010
11:56 am

EDIT: Make that the “05 Flopping Four,” as Machael Garnett played quite well.

kracker

August 21st, 2010
11:56 am

grrrr Michael

Sparky (Smoothie)

August 21st, 2010
2:06 pm

Y’all are forgetting Niko Kapanen…his Finnish fecal matter stunk up the joint real bad!

At least Todd White had ONE good year.

“Todd “Whitey” White don’t need no Garmin, gets to the crease and deposits the Charmin!”

Sage of Bluesland

August 21st, 2010
2:45 pm

I’d also like to nominate the ultimate “sell-out”, one Daren Eliot. From his days of calling Per Svartvadet (Mr. Offensive Electricity himself!) “Per SMARTvadet” to the constant excuse-making for the fraud of a GM we’ve had for a decade, he certainly deserves a place of dishonor, as it’s his voice the fans hear more of than any other…

Certainly more than bumbling Donny–well, since he wised up, stopped talking to the non-organization-controlled media, and thus stopped sticking his massive foot in his even larger mouth….

Yep, Daren deserves to be on that mountain too….His disinformation has been nothing but a disservice…

Sharon

August 21st, 2010
3:09 pm

Waddell

Levenson

Heatley

Lehtonen

I despise every single one of them. There are so many other players that deserve dishonorable mentions, so how about a pile of rubble at the base of Mt. Flushmore for them? It’s very fitting for this franchise and I’d stone them if given the chance.